Damper seems so Aussie to me. I think it’s traditional in New Zealand too? Traditional damper is made of flour and water and cooked in the coals of a fire. I remember as a kid going to a night bonfire with friends and family and wrapping damper onto the last 15cm of sticks so that the end of the stick was also covered in damper. Once we’d cooked it in the fire we’d pull it off the stick and in the hollow end we’d pour golden syrup. Holy moly, that was a delicious treat!
Damper can be sweet or savoury. It’s really simple to make and in fact, like scones the more you try the worse they get. It’s better to throw it all together and cook it, no fuss.
It’s getting cooler here so I’ve started making damper to go with slow cooked casseroles and soups. Unlike bread, where you need to plan it in advance to give it time to rest and rise, damper can be made in around 20mins.
For this damper I’ve added some extra ingredients to give it some personality but you can add whatever you like to compliment whatever you’re serving it with. I don’t measure much now when I make damper, I old school it and just add what I want until I get the texture right. But if I have to break it down it’s going to look a bit like this…
5 cups Self raising flour
100gms Butter (sometimes I use macadamia oil instead)
2 cups of Milk
Handfuls of herbs Such as parsley, chives, some rosemary, thyme
Salt to taste.
Add the salt to the flour (reserve about a half cup of flour for dusting) and then rub the butter through with your fingers or you could blend the ingredients in a processor. Roughly tear in the herbs. Add most of the milk and mix until the dough just starts to softly form. Add more flour if it’s too sticky and more milk if it’s too dry. Dust your prep surface and gently mix by hand and form it up to make a 10cm (approx) high circular shape. Don’t over mix or knead it or it will ruin the texture. Be lazy with it and it will be lovely and soft. Sprinkle some left over flour on top and pat it over the damper. It feels nice to touch, like play dough. You could sprinkle some seeds on there too. Flour the back of a knife, the blunt side, and press, not all the way through, slices into the damper, making about 8 portions. This allows the damper to cook more evenly as well as creating a pull apart effect when serving. Place on a lined baking tray. Cook in a preheated 200 dg C oven for around 20 mins or until it starts to brown on top. It should sound a bit hollow if you tap it with the back of a spoon and it should have a nice crust on it. When you break it open it should be nice and soft on the inside, not dry. Get rustic with it and Enjoy!